Stress is a word used frequently today, understood little and a lot of research exists to investigate it. There are different types of stress. Broadly speaking there are two types: immediate and chronic.
Immediate type stress involves our involuntary sympathetic nervous system and adrenaline. It can be a response to normal demands from our environment, or it could function in any ‘fight or flight’ situation where we perceive our life as being threatened; we either overcome it or escape from it. Either way we stay alive. This is effective in the short term, but a maintained adrenaline response would exhaust and even kill us.

Laurence Hattersley Osteopath

This type of stress can be seen as the upward line of the graph (PGF Nixon - Charing Cross Hospital, London, 1987). It occurs when a challenge arises, or is presented to us, in our life and we are able to respond accordingly to match it; we can change and adapt. In a perfect world it should flatten out (as the ‘intended’ line), as our capacity to respond matches the demand (arousal) put upon us. Sadly the reality is different, as demand frequently exceeds our capabilities. Now chronic stress sets in. 

Chronic stress is that form of stress from which we cannot escape, e.g. worries about work, relationships, money and even summations of such conditions. From this we can see that stress is usually seen in terms of the external factor causing the stress, but this is not actually so. Stress is really an expression of our bodily response to an ongoing situation, i.e. it is an expression of our relationship with the external factor and what that does to us. The hormone of chronic stress is cortisol. 

Cortisol suppresses the body’s stress reaction. It is actually trying to be protective; it acts as an anti-inflammatory and is used as such by orthodox medicine. However, it puts all repair processes on hold, including the immune system; so even if you do benefit from steroid (cortisol-like drugs) therapy, afterwards you still have to heal, i.e. return to homeostasis (homeostasis – see ‘What is Good Health?)

Many people have ongoing stress reactions to their environment on an everyday basis, and most probably don’t even know they are experiencing stress; all they do know is that they have symptoms they don’t like. Their bodies are dynamic, searching for equilibrium and doing their best at any point in time

Craniosacral Therapy is an effective way of helping reduce the person's experience of the unpleasant effects of stress

Laurence Hattersley Osteopath